This weekend, I had the honor of being a bridesmaid in my friend Krista's wedding. Let me tell you, this wedding was a lot of fun! From the bridesmaid bonding all weekend, to getting ready and the wedding itself, to the pictures on the beach, the reception, and the party bus afterward...we really celebrated!
Any time I go to a wedding, it always makes me think about my wedding. Not that that's any time soon, but I always think about what I want to do for it. It also makes me think about what makes a marriage successful. With our society being so accepting of divorce, I think it's easier to give up on a marriage when things get tough than it used to be. But, I think there are plenty of ways to prepare for that BEFORE getting married, and here are some of those thoughts:
-Base your relationship around similar values and beliefs: To me, a healthy and successful marriage can begin by building that relationship with someone who has similar values and beliefs as you do. That should be one of the first things that is established in a new relationship rather than waiting until later on and discovering huge differences. Also, particularly where religion is concerned, sharing similar beliefs will help each of you grow in your faith while growing in your relationship. It's a way to continue to build each other up, which is one reason I think it's so important!
-Communication: So cliche, I know, but if you can't talk with your significant other about issues you may be having, how in the world are you going to have a healthy and successful marriage? You should feel comfortable talking about anything and everything with someone you want to marry. I've heard it said when people are getting married that they are "marrying their best friend," which I think is a great way to feel. You really should be in a relationship with someone who is your best friend, meaning someone you are yourself around and can talk about anything with. Communication is key to a good marriage.
-Have joint-yet-separate lives: That sounds weird, but I think any healthy relationship/marriage needs this! What I mean is that you have your life together, but that you also have things that you do individually. This provides you with an "escape" per se when things aren't going perfectly. Sometimes, you need that individual space/activity/time to cool off, collect yourself, and realize that things can be worked/talked out. It's also good to have friends that are just your friends so that if you need some advice or just someone to talk to that doesn't know your significant other, you can do so and know that they are really talking just for you.
-Always have a date night/"just the two of you" time: This is really for later on in a marriage (i.e. when the babies start to arrive), but I think it's really important to set aside time each week to just have couple time. Enjoy each other's company, do an activity you both like to do, share a good meal and conversation, simply just be together! It seems like it'd be easy to forget about what you mean to each other when there's a child that needs your full attention most of the time, but I think it's really important to keep the love in-tact by spending some time together fairly often.
I started thinking half-way through this, "why in the world am I giving marriage advice? I'm not getting married!" But I think these are good things to remind myself of as I think about the future, as well as share my thoughts with everyone else. Who knows, maybe I got the urge to write these things down for some reason unknown to me!